A Fond Farewell

Published on 18 May 2021

In April 2020, John A. Pieper, Pharm.D., FCCP, FAPhA, FFIP, president and professor of University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, announced he would retire in June 2021, following 11 years as president of the University and a 41-year career in academic pharmacy.

Through his innovative ideas, the University propelled to new heights and aspirations. As this decade-long chapter nears its end, and we prepare to say goodbye, we marvel at the collective accomplishments of our University community and the vision and leadership that brought us here.


Pieper began his tenure as the University’s fourth president in August 2010 and wasted no time exploring and evaluating opportunities for growth. Soon after his arrival, a new strategic plan, STLCOP 20/20, was announced, and it championed a radical vision for the future. The plan served as a guiding light through his tenure over the next 11 years.

Pieper’s vision, enacted through STLCOP 20/20, provided the opportunity to reflect on the University’s historic achievements while exploring new ways of thinking and developing enhanced opportunities and pathways to drive student success. These strategic changes provided an opportunity to create a diverse, interprofessional campus environment that speaks to today’s students and the ever-evolving world of health care.

In 2014, our flagship Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program implemented a new curriculum. The introduction of new bachelor’s degrees paved the way for an integrated Bachelor of Science and Pharm.D. that allowed students to earn two degrees and save a full year of study.

To address the growing student interest in alternative pathways within health care, the University also invested in the development of additional bachelor’s and master’s degree programs to provide students with new avenues to pursue health professions careers.

In the last seven years, newly launched programs have included:

  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Data Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Global Health
  • Bachelor of Arts in Medical Humanities
  • Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences with an emphasis in Health Sciences or Health Humanities
  • Master of Science in Global Health and Equity
  • Master of Science in Medicinal Chemistry

Pieper prioritized the creation of collaborative partnerships with neighboring institutions to provide students with expanded opportunities and new connections to progress their careers. Through these partnerships, students can explore pathways to several health professions careers and pursue joint enrollment in degree and certificate programs that supplement their UHSP education. These relationships have strengthened the University’s potential to positively impact health care, develop an international reputation and influence the practice of pharmacy regionally and nationally.

A two-phase construction project that completed in 2017 transformed the physical campus by adding two new state-of-the-art buildings and more than 400,000 square feet of space designed to provide students, faculty, staff and alumni with unparalleled opportunities to learn and grow. These new buildings provide the University community access to cutting-edge technologies and resources and have propelled the University into the 21st century.

Pieper also led the University in enhancing its research agenda and was a co-founder of the Center for Clinical Pharmacology, which has become a hub of research and discovery, with faculty members consistently receiving annual funding from various renowned private and government agencies. The University is now recognized nationally and internationally for its research efforts.


Pieper will officially retire from his role as president of the University on June 30, 2021. Even as he prepares for his retirement, he is actively engaged in facilitating the transition for the institution’s next president. With a three-year strategic plan announced earlier this year, and a presidential transition committee securely established, he leaves UHSP prepared to forge a new path — primed and ready to conquer the next chapter of our history.

“Serving as the fourth president of the University has been a privilege, the honor of my career and one of the great joys of my life,” Pieper said. “I have been so privileged to work alongside the talented members of our campus community to bring a number of impactful projects to fruition during my years here. Over the past decade, we have done great things, and we have strengthened the University for the future.

“As I look forward to retirement, I do so with hope and optimism, in large part, because I know that the amazing work of our community will continue. The best is yet to come for the University, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve this wonderful institution for the past 11 years.”

As the University’s fourth president, John A. Pieper came in as a force for change and innovation, and his lasting impact will forever be remembered.


In celebration of his upcoming retirement, President Pieper has pledged $50,000 to support the Founders Leadership Scholars Program, and we hope you consider joining him by making a gift.

This program awards scholarships to students who demonstrate high academic achievement, exceptional leaderships skills and a passion for public service.

Support the Founders Leadership Scholars Program

This story was first published in the spring 2021 issue of Script Magazine. To view past issues of Script, visit the Script Magazine archive.

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